Around one-in-ten Moodnudges readers already know what I’m going to say.
Does this mean we have a lot of mind readers in our database?
Well, possibly not.
The truth is that about 10% of our readership is currently taking part in the trial of Signpost, the new emotional health management tool we’re building.
What these trialists will know is that this week has been what you might call eventful.
A calculation hiccup resulted in some people being told they were angry when they weren’t.
I joked (nervously) that even if they weren’t actually annoyed to start with, being told this might irritate the heck out of someone.
Fortunately, everyone concerned seems to have taken it with good grace, understanding that these kinds of wobbles are the very reason you run pilot tests.
In fact, it gave me renewed joy to be reminded that you and our other readers are just so very, very nice.
What a fabulous community we have here, frankly.
In between discovering how physically tiring it can be when you exert yourself mentally, as I tried to fix the “anger-stat” (and a great reminder of how intrinsically linked physical and mental health are) I’ve also been enjoying reading a new book by Johann Hari: Lost Connections.
In his book, Hari argues that a great deal of depression may actually be due, not to disease, but to someone’s life circumstances.
Now there’s a thing.
If you feel friendless, lonely, or under-appreciated, he suggests, slipping into depression might simply be a natural reaction to unpleasant situations, rather than a chemical imbalance in the brain.
I am of course grossly oversimplifying the book’s theories, but they do really make sense to me.
Johann Hari has come under fire from some in the psychiatry profession, who claim he is suggesting that antidepressant medicines serve no purpose at all, and that he is claiming that people can recover from depression by making, on the face of it, simple life changes.
(Although you and I both probably know that, when you’re depressed, nothing is ever simple. Nothing.)
Actually, Hari doesn’t deny the usefulness of meds to some.
What he does say, though, and I think he makes the point strongly, is that medication must never be the only tool in the box.
And in fact this is entirely the view I’ve taken since Caroline, Adrian, and I started Moodscope in 2007, and also while I’ve been Moodnudging since my transplant to California in 2013.
Simple things like getting out in nature, connecting with others, remembering to be grateful, getting healthy exercise… these are all surefire ways to boost your mood.
As I say, I’m relishing Johann Hari’s book, which you may also enjoy. It’s a fast-paced, definitely not heavy, piece of writing.
My heartfelt thanks, as ever, to all those who are experimenting with Signpost, and my heartfelt thanks to you for reading today’s nudge.
If you fall into both camps, well, consider yourself impeccably thanked.
One last thing: that rocket launch on Tuesday.
Boy oh boy, what a magnificent achievement by Elon Musk and SpaceX, almost certainly doing their bit to lift the world’s mood.
Along, of course, with a cherry-red Tesla roadster carrying a Starman, who’d like to come and meet us, but who thinks he’d blow our mind.
He certainly blew mine.